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Orisson or onwards to Roncesvalles

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RhondaT-B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2019
I'm starting my first Camino from St. Jean Pied De Port on Thursday 15th August. I consider myself to be relatively fit, though living in Norfolk UK, hills are sparse & mountains non existent! I have walked in the Lakes & Scotland on previous holidays, so have a good idea it can be hard work. Just wondering whether I should consider stopping off at Orisson on route to Ronesvalles. It just seems like such a short distance from SJPDP, though I appreciate it's uphill. Would appreciate thoughts from others. Thank you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 (2019) CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
If you plan to stop at Orisson, you have to make reservations ahead of time. Although it is only 8km from St.Jean, it is a hard 3 hours uphill...I think it is the hardest day on the Camino, especially if you are jet-lagged.
 

DeadFred

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean-Los Arcos ,Sept, Oct 14'
Los Arcos - Logrono-May16'
Next Logrono to ? - Sept 2019
I'm starting my first Camino from St. Jean Pied De Port on Thursday 15th August. I consider myself to be relatively fit, though living in Norfolk UK, hills are sparse & mountains non existent! I have walked in the Lakes & Scotland on previous holidays, so have a good idea it can be hard work. Just wondering whether I should consider stopping off at Orisson on route to Ronesvalles. It just seems like such a short distance from SJPDP, though I appreciate it's uphill. Would appreciate thoughts from others. Thank you.
I strongly suggest Orisson however it might be too late to book a bed. I don't recommend going the long route to Ronesvalles. If you cannot get a bed you can always take a taxi back to st-jean from orisson then start again the next day a Orisson (cab). The reason I say to not go the full length is like you I also trained on similar ground for two years prior to my first Camino. My first day out from st-jean was horrendous. It was beautiful but the hardest hike I ever made. Good luck whatever you decide
 

Leibniz

Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Astorga (2018)
Frances/Invierno from SJPP (2019)
I’m also reasonably fit (not an Olympian by any means) and I walked to Roncesvalles on Sunday from SJPP (in torrential rain!), it wasn’t that hard.

Just go all the way, you’ll be glad you have. You can stop for a coffee in Orisson and be happy that you have something else to occupy the rest of your day with. 😉
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Just wondering whether I should consider stopping off at Orisson on route to Ronesvalles. It just seems like such a short distance from SJPDP, though I appreciate it's uphill. Would appreciate thoughts from others.
A frequently asked question and the answers are spread out all over the forum ☺. Have a look at what turns up when you click on this: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/tags/orisson/ . Or enter Roncesvalles Orisson into the forum search box.

It's basically not possible to answer the question for you personally although you've indicated that you are reasonably fit and have walked in the Lake District and in Scotland. The majority of walkers walk from SJPP to Roncesvalles in one day as Orisson has only 28 beds or so and a shuttle service that picks up people at certain points along the way for another overnight stay in SJPP and delivers them again at the same spot the next day has also limited capacity.

My recommendation: start early (sunrise if you can) and know how to pace yourself when it feels steep to you - and what feels steep or very steep to you is really a question of previous experience. Many people don't know how to pace themselves when they have to go uphill.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Orisson. The first day you set out you should be very excited with great expectations a-n-d very uncertain as to the near future. Your gear (I hate that word) doesn't exactly sit right on your back. Many others also starting their initial stage creating opportunities lots of talk, social bantering, and exchange of ideas. Photographs and selfies and groupies right and left. All taken together will work to throw off your usual pace and speed. Do stop over at Orisson and re-organize. My opinion has always been to take those first days slow and easy until you find the stride that suits your own Camino. Fit as a fiddle is good but there is no reason whatsoever to destroy your enjoyment, create over-expectations and yes blisters or worse because of over-exertion and a guide book recommendation. Listen to your body but allow it enough time to establish communication. Buen Camino.
 

Juspassinthrough

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, May-June (2017)
Ingles, June (2019
Leon-Sarria, June (2019)
Le Puy-Santiago (2023)
I'm starting my first Camino from St. Jean Pied De Port on Thursday 15th August. I consider myself to be relatively fit, though living in Norfolk UK, hills are sparse & mountains non existent! I have walked in the Lakes & Scotland on previous holidays, so have a good idea it can be hard work. Just wondering whether I should consider stopping off at Orisson on route to Ronesvalles. It just seems like such a short distance from SJPDP, though I appreciate it's uphill. Would appreciate thoughts from others. Thank you.
RhondaT-B

2 years ago at age 60 I did the CF starting in SJPP. I too am in reasonably good shape and like you, we don’t have many hills in north Texas. I walked a lot, I used a treadmill on an incline to get some simulated hill climbing in.

With that said, I went all the way to Roncesvalles and would do it again. It will be hard, very steep from Hunto to Orrison, it took me 9 hours and when I got to Roncesvalles I was tired, sore and very happy. Can’t tell you what to do, you know what’s best for you but, part of that day, I walked with an 84 year old German man, he was quite an inspiration. Buen Camino.
 

RhondaT-B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2019
Thank you all for taking the time to respond, your feedback is very much appreciated. As it's unlikely i'll be able to secure accommodation at Orisson at such short notice now I will go for Roncesvalles on day one. I will hopefully arrive in SJDPD early afternoon on the Wednesday - having read other posts the transfer (bus & train) from Biaritz to SJDPD looks to be fairly stright forward, which will give me time get my bearings & organise my passport in readiness for an early start the next day.

Thanks again to you all 😀
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
You should try to get a bed at Orisson. I knew someone last year who got a bed in September (which is busier from SJPdP than August) just about a week ahead. If you don't think that you will be up to going the entire distance in one day you can use Express Bouricott's Mountain Shuttle.

 

Felipe

Veteran Member
Personally, If I arrive in the morning or early afternoon, I'd try to book at Orisson, have a nice stroll in SJPP and walk leisurely to the albergue around 3 PM, so I can see the sunset in the mountains and dine with fellow pilgrims.
If I arrive later in the day, book or get an albergue (Kaserna is my favorite) in SJPP, and next day walk all the way to Roncesvalles.
 
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C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
The weight that people carry makes a huge difference in how hard that walk to Orrison feels. Carry a light load, walk slowly without trying to keep up with others, and don't try to talk while you walk up steep parts. Then you will be fine.

I strongly recommemd 2 walking poles, especially for the second half, down to Roncesvalles.
 
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Richard Ward

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016, 2017, 2018)
Madrid to Salvador to Primitivo (planned 2019)
Only have hiked Frances from St. Jean once, but my advice is start early, walk comically slow to Orisson (EVERYONE passed me), rest, eat a sandwich, then hike normally to Roncesvalles. You have 14ish hours of light, use it. You will be passing the injured speedsters after Zubiri...
 

brambles

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inca (2018)
Camino Frances (June/July 2019)
I would recommend trying to book at Orrison. After much back and forth (insert self deprecating eye roll ;) , I did end up staying at Orisson and I am glad that I did. I liked being able to get a good night's sleep in SJ and a leisurely breakfast with a few cups of coffee before heading out for our first day. While going all the way to Roncesvalles would have been possible, I would have felt rushed when my daughter wanted to spend a lot of time with the horses that were on the trail, or looking at the views, cows, etc. We were really able to truly take our time and enjoy a beautiful sunrise at Orisson and a relaxing, beautiful day. Also, we ended up walking the wet forest route into Roncesvalles and after a slip and fall which resulted, fortunately, in only a bruised elbow, we needed to take it slow and careful to avoid further injury. I also met a mom and daughter along the way (somewhere after Leon?) who described how they had booked at Orisson but cancelled when they felt like walking more on their first day and truly regretted it when they arrived late at Roncesvalles and the albergue was full.
 

Terri B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
1998 St Cuthberts Way, 1999 West Highland Way
2016 & 2019 Camino Frances SJPDP to Santiago
I've found stopping at Orisson helps me acclimatise, but then I'm travelling from OZ not the UK. Training through winter and arriving in late summer is a shock to the system so I like to easy my way in.
 

Ianinam

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Hospitalera at Roncesvalles:
2015/2016/2017/2018/2019
If you are fit and if you have been doing enough trainingwalks it is certainly doable. You can consider sending your backpack to Roncesvalles, this will help a lot.

As a hospitalero in Roncesvalles I daily see people coming in, all the way from SJPdP, and it depends on their physical fitness, their (over)weight, the weight of their backpack, their trainings, how 'dead' or alive they come in. Some (the young people) come in at 1 PM and look like they've only done a walk through the park, others (older, not fit, smokers and overweight) come in at 8 PM, more dead than alive ..... and eveything in between.
Be sure to have a reservation for a bed in that period so you can take your time!
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés
For a first camino, if you have the time, and unsure what this 800km walk is really all about, I see no point whatsoever in NOT breaking up that first day from St Jean Pied de Port into two, and becoming slowly acclimatised to what exactly you have let yourself in for. Whether I walk via Orrison or Valcarlos I have a leisurely breakfast in SJPdP, wait for the huge mob, who have all left at the crack of dawn, to get well ahead of me, and I then enjoy a quiet amble up the hills, slowly, at my pace, and without crowds of people around me. Once in “camino mode”, and my overall fitness has improved, so I know what I am capable of, I can speed up, but not on the very first day.
 

dfox

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (4/2017)
CP (5/2019)
CF (5/2021)
On your first day the adrenaline is pumping. Go to Roncesvalles!:)
I am "truly" a walker, unable to run or climb hills, steep or not.

I walked from SJPdP to Roncesvalles on the Napoleon route in 4/2017 in one shot. BUT, I did not carry the 13 kg backpack, which was sent to Roncesvalles by courier.

The day started at 7:30 am and finished around 5:00 pm. Many people passed me along the way, but we met in the "registration hall" again while waiting for registration for a bed and/or the meal for the evening.

It's important to bring sufficient water and snack as there was no supplies after Orisson. On the day of my walk, there was a food truck high up. A boiled egg was 1 euro, a banana was 0.5 euro (?).

One step at a time, one day at a time! In short, it is to take your time. One will reach SdC happily (physically, mentally, spiritually).
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
I'm starting my first Camino from St. Jean Pied De Port on Thursday 15th August. I consider myself to be relatively fit, though living in Norfolk UK, hills are sparse & mountains non existent! I have walked in the Lakes & Scotland on previous holidays, so have a good idea it can be hard work. Just wondering whether I should consider stopping off at Orisson on route to Ronesvalles. It just seems like such a short distance from SJPDP, though I appreciate it's uphill. Would appreciate thoughts from others. Thank you.
You can do the walk - it is not that difficult. BUT if you can get accommodation in Orisson, it is worth a night, just to see the mist rising below you in the morning. Unbeatable :)
 

benny aumala

Member
Camino(s) past & future
may-june 2016
may-june (2019)
Orisson is a good choice, but difficult to achieve. It tend to be full all the time.
If you cannot get a bed there, call them by phone and ask for Kayola,
They have beds there, 800 meters before Orisson.
You may have supper and breakfast in Orisson, just after the worst zikzak.
Another help: for this hardest part of Camino you may send big pack to
Roncesvalles for some 5...8 € and walk the Napoleon Route with minimalist's daypack.
Benny
 

RhondaT-B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2019
Wow, overwhelmed by the number of replies and wonderful advice I've been given here. Thank you all for taking time out to share your experiences.

My first Camino & I'm lurching from excitement one day to anxiousness the next. Your kindness settles me - well, at least for today!
 

c0484

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
I'm starting my first Camino from St. Jean Pied De Port on Thursday 15th August. I consider myself to be relatively fit, though living in Norfolk UK, hills are sparse & mountains non existent! I have walked in the Lakes & Scotland on previous holidays, so have a good idea it can be hard work. Just wondering whether I should consider stopping off at Orisson on route to Ronesvalles. It just seems like such a short distance from SJPDP, though I appreciate it's uphill. Would appreciate thoughts from others. Thank you.
You really will not know until you get there. It is not really as bad as you think. I have attached three topo maps that are contiguous to give you a better idea. You will do fine.
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014
Camino Frances 2016
If you plan to stop at Orisson, you have to make reservations ahead of time. Although it is only 8km from St.Jean, it is a hard 3 hours uphill...I think it is the hardest day on the Camino, especially if you are jet-lagged.
I agree with Marylynn and DeadFred. I've done it both ways and stopping in Orisson is the best alternative for two reasons: It's not a race, it's a journey and you will meet a large group of fellow pilgrims who you will see throughout the journey. Enjoy your pilgrimage. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Completed one 550 Miile and six partial caminos
I'm starting my first Camino from St. Jean Pied De Port on Thursday 15th August. I consider myself to be relatively fit, though living in Norfolk UK, hills are sparse & mountains non existent! I have walked in the Lakes & Scotland on previous holidays, so have a good idea it can be hard work. Just wondering whether I should consider stopping off at Orisson on route to Ronesvalles. It just seems like such a short distance from SJPDP, though I appreciate it's uphill. Would appreciate thoughts from others. Thank you.
Really depends on the day. If you get rain then onto Roncevalles.
If you get 38degrees, stop in Orrison.
It is a hard slog but beautiful.
Enjoy whatever you decide.
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
CF - 2019
Stop over at Orisson more for the communal dinner and a chance to meet fellow pilgrims. The joy of that on our first Camino is still one of our favourite memories.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
A lot depends on what time you start, and whether you like group sharings and communal meals.
If you start in the late morning or afternoon, Orisson is a good place to stop.
And if you are the quiet type who doesn't like talking in a group...you'll want to give it a miss.

And if you're a quiet type who is starting in the afternoon? Go via Valcarlos, and stop there for the night at the very nice albergue. Going via the Napoleon route is not the only option, nor the only gorgeous option.
 

taigirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2019
I'm starting my first Camino from St. Jean Pied De Port on Thursday 15th August. I consider myself to be relatively fit, though living in Norfolk UK, hills are sparse & mountains non existent! I have walked in the Lakes & Scotland on previous holidays, so have a good idea it can be hard work. Just wondering whether I should consider stopping off at Orisson on route to Ronesvalles. It just seems like such a short distance from SJPDP, though I appreciate it's uphill. Would appreciate thoughts from others. Thank you.
I am starting on 5th September and have booked the night at Orisson. I plan a leisurely morning having a look around SJPDP, breakfast, coffee or two, photos before I start walking. Having made the long flight from Oz I imagine I will be jetlagged and less than energetic. Burn Camino.
 

Jim Stinson

ibrew4u
Camino(s) past & future
5/2015 CF
4/2017 CF
5/2019 CF fr Astorga
If you can get a bed at Orisson, sleep late in SJPP, have a leisurely breakfast, shop around a bit (get a sache of herbs in the herb shop for your meals across Spain) get your lunch to go and arrive in Orisson in the afternoon.
In 2017 I left SJPP at 0530 and arrived at Orisson at 0900. In 2015, we left SJPP around 0900 and arrived in Orisson just after noon.
Continuing on to R-ville, is another 5-6 hours. It is not boring, and is a beautiful hike (went up in light snow 2017, was fantastic [from Colorado]). But it is by no means easy. Its a tough day whether you stop in O-town or not. Arrival at the Monastery is heart pumping from either SJPP or Orisson. I've always gone from SJPP as there is too much daylight left for me to stop and smell the O'ses.
 

Arlene Laskey

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April-May 2018
Camino Portuguese ?2021? maybe
We stopped in Orisson on the recommendation of a friend. So glad we did, it broke up the long, difficult walk to Roncesvalles,, and we met such wonderful Camino friends at the communal meal. The next day we arrived at the monastery early and with energy to enjoy the afternoon. But it is your Camino, so will have to decide for yourself:)
 

athiker93

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept-Oct 2013
I'm starting my first Camino from St. Jean Pied De Port on Thursday 15th August. I consider myself to be relatively fit, though living in Norfolk UK, hills are sparse & mountains non existent! I have walked in the Lakes & Scotland on previous holidays, so have a good idea it can be hard work. Just wondering whether I should consider stopping off at Orisson on route to Ronesvalles. It just seems like such a short distance from SJPDP, though I appreciate it's uphill. Would appreciate thoughts from others. Thank you.
If you have the.
I'm starting my first Camino from St. Jean Pied De Port on Thursday 15th August. I consider myself to be relatively fit, though living in Norfolk UK, hills are sparse & mountains non existent! I have walked in the Lakes & Scotland on previous holidays, so have a good idea it can be hard work. Just wondering whether I should consider stopping off at Orisson on route to Ronesvalles. It just seems like such a short distance from SJPDP, though I appreciate it's uphill. Would appreciate thoughts from others. Thank you.
If you have the time...DEFINITELY take in Orrison. You can sleep in and not be un the mad dash up the mountain. Plus its a wonderful sunset with a beer out on the veranda overlooking the valley.
 

John Ferguson

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
The French Way May/June (2015) Complete.
Completed Porto Way from Lisbon May(2017).
I'm starting my first Camino from St. Jean Pied De Port on Thursday 15th August. I consider myself to be relatively fit, though living in Norfolk UK, hills are sparse & mountains non existent! I have walked in the Lakes & Scotland on previous holidays, so have a good idea it can be hard work. Just wondering whether I should consider stopping off at Orisson on route to Ronesvalles. It just seems like such a short distance from SJPDP, though I appreciate it's uphill. Would appreciate thoughts from others. Thank you.

I walked from ST PdP three years ago and 66 years old. I' stopped at Orrison for the 1st day, and I am very glad I did. The walk through to Roncesvalles I found very challenging and was glad to do it on fresh legs and a clear mind.
 

peckahad

Member
Camino(s) past & future
walk in sept 2019
I walked from ST PdP three years ago and 66 years old. I' stopped at Orrison for the 1st day, and I am very glad I did. The walk through to Roncesvalles I found very challenging and was glad to do it on fresh legs and a clear mind.
I start on Sept 18. Will spend nite at Orisson on my 77th Birthday. Looking forward to my 1st Camino.
 

RhondaT-B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2019
Thanks again for all your posts, you certainly gave me lots to think about. Whilst I think fitness wise walking straight to Roncesvalles would be perectly manageable for me, the main message I have picked up from lots of you is why feel rushed, enjoy the experience & don't put myself under any unnecessary pressure. It's my first Camino & my first solo holiday, Orisson sounds like it could be a great experience for a newbie like me. So, I've rearranged my plans & booked it up! Can't quite believe that my journey begins in a little over 7 days!
 

Ian Afloat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF July 25th 2017 from SJPDP
If you are reasonably fit it shouldn't be a problem. It's not a cake walk, but it's not Everest either! I live in Essex, so like you hills of any significance are hard to come by. I am reasonably unfit and middle aged and have done it twice once in 30+ degree heat and blazing sunshine and once in continuous drizzle. The climb to Orisson is the worst bit, imo. Orisson has never appealed to me, primarily because the Albergue is all that is there.
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés
So, I've rearranged my plans & booked it up!
Hi, you are so lucky to get a booking at such short notice! Do let us know, when you get back home, if you think it was worth it or not 😃.
 

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